Last night, my new sponsee brought up an issue I wrestled with not long ago. Funny how that works.
She has a son not much younger than my daughter, and she's tired of calling. He doesn't call, ever, or send a card or gift on her birthday or Christmas. Sounds just like a conversation I had with my sponsor sometime around Thanksgiving.
I had decided I wasn't going to call anymore. I told my husband that, and he agreed. My daughter is not his daughter. But he has a son who used to do the same. So he stopped calling, and sending cards and gifts. Now his son calls. Heck, his son (my step son) calls me on my birthday.
If I stopped calling my daughter, it would not be to try to get her to change her behavior. That was one of the first lessons I learned in Al-Anon. I'm powerless over another person, and if my motive is to change their behavior, it's a bad idea.
So that wasn't my motive. I was just tired of having a one-way relationship. I had begun to feel like I was forcing the relationship and I should let my daughter be the one to decide if and when she wanted to have that relationship.
My sponsee said much the same thing.
I was certain I had made the right decision. I mentioned it to my sponsor, thinking she would be proud of me for having seen the light.
Instead, she said, "That's very selfish of you."
I should say that this isn't her memory of our conversation. But I remember it clearly (or at least I think I do) because I was so shocked. She's usually less pointed in her comments, but her reaction was immediate.
She said calling our kids is what good parents do. I didn't have to call my daughter every week, but I shouldn't stop calling.
Now, normally, when my sponsor gives me advice, I feel the sting of truth. I didn't this time. But I was willing to concede that my thinking is diseased and I can't always see things clearly on my own. Also, she had never steered me wrong. So I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I decided to call less often, but to continue to call. And that year, she actually called me at Christmas. I was delighted.
But I also prayed about it. And soon, God took the situation out of my hands. I can't call my daughter because there is no phone where she is living. She gave me a number where I could leave a message if something came up. Once, I got a call for her on my cellphone and I called the number and left a message. She may or may not have gotten it. She never called me back to let me know.
I'm a big advocate of having one sponsor and not confusing myself by polling all my friends, program or otherwise.
But in this case, since it's come up again, and involving someone other than me, I'm curious. If you have experience, strength or hope to share, I'm all ears.
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